Brandon Garabrant of Greenfield made national news last year when the young U.S. Marine tried to wear his dress blues to his graduation at ConVal High School. Last week he made national news again when he gave his life for his country. He was only 19.
Lance Cpl. Garabrant was one of three Marines killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last Friday. It is an understatement to say that the United States has lost a very impressive young man.
Garabrant earned all of his high school graduation credits a semester early. With that final semester of high school free, he went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. He became a Marine the day before he was to graduate high school. While at basic training, he requested permission to wear his uniform, instead of his cap and gown, to graduation. The principal denied his request. Garabrant was given the option of wearing his uniform under his cap and gown, but he decided that would be disrespectful to the Marine Corps.
“Out of respect for the USMC and ConVal, I will not be wearing my military dress uniform to graduation tomorrow. I will be there in civilian clothes wearing cap & gown,” he said in a statement before graduation. It was a remarkably mature decision that reflected very well on the man who made it.It is easy to forget that the United States continues to fight a war in a remote and desolate place on the other side of the earth and that men and women like Brandon Garabrant volunteered to face dangers in dusty lands so those dangers would not find their way here. It is easy to forget, unless one of those brave men or women is a friend or family member. Then forgetting is impossible.As a country, we should never forget to be thankful for the sacrifices so many have made, and are making, on our behalf. We pray that their sacrifices are not made in vain.